Fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi has surrendered his Indian citizenship in an attempt to avoid getting extradited to the country. He has been residing in Antigua for more than a year. Choksi deposited his Indian passport number Z 3396732, along with cancelled pages at the Indian High Commission in Antigua. Mehul Choksi also deposited $177 - a mandatory amount to leave Indian citizenship and become a citizen of Antigua.
However, a government official said, "The crime that has been committed by Mehul Choksi and the extradition process has nothing to do with his citizenship. As an accused, Choksi will be extradited, no matter what his citizenship is. Any accused of any nationality can be extradited from any country according to the International law and same applies for Choksi."
The foreign ministry had informed that Choksi could not have dual citizenship.
Mehul Choksi and nephew Nirav Modi are kingpins of the Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank fraud. They both fled from the country a year ago. Choksi was granted citizenship of Anitgua and Barbuda on January 15, 2018. Few days later, on January 29, the CBI filed a case against him and started investigating the duo.
In December last year, Interpol issued a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Choksi upon the request of CBI. Choksi had told a Mumbai court that his health did not allow him to travel to India that would take around 41 hours from Antigua.
He also told the court that he has expressed willingness to join the investigation and accused the ED of misleading the probe by not revealing his health conditions.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)